The useful half-century innings of top-order batsmen led by Ben Stokes and England’s Keithilana bowling of Jopra Archer, in the first match of the World Cup, defeated South Africa by 104 runs in the first match, forcefully affecting their World Cup campaign.
England first scored 311 for eight wickets on the invitation of batting. Jason Roy (56 runs off 53 balls) and Joe Root (53 off 59 balls) added 106 runs for the second wicket to lift England out of initial shock. Eoin Morgan (57 off 60 balls) and Stokes (89 off 79 balls) shared 106 runs for the fourth wicket after both of them were dismissed in consecutive overs. There was no expected bounce on the oval pitch and in such a way, the shot was not easy for the batsmen, but Archer, using his short pitch balls well, spread panic in the South African camp.
Quinton de Kock (68 off 74 balls) and Rossi van der Dussen (50 off 61 balls) scored half-centuries from South Africa, but their team got stuck on 207 runs in 39.5 overs. This is South Africa’s second biggest defeat in the World Cup. Archer took three wickets for 27 runs. Stokes also showed a lot in the bowling and sent 12 batsmen to the Pavilion to the batting batsmen. Liam Plunkett also took two wickets for 37 runs.
Archer’s fast-paced ball first hit Hashim Amla’s helmet, and he had to leave the field. With this, all the strategies of South Africa got disturbed. Archer then caught Eden Markram (11) in the slip on the extra bounce ball and later captained Faf du Plessis (five) to give the catch to the shortest pitch ball of the match.
De Kock tried hard to maintain the momentum from one end, but the spell of South Africa’s middle line was opened by falling three wickets in 15 runs. De Kock and Van Der Dussen added 85 runs for the third wicket. Although De Kock, after completing the 22nd half-century of his career, caught on the boundary line. England quickly cracked the match after JP Duminy (eight) and Dwayne Pretorius (one) returned quickly. Dussen then completed his fifth half-century, but Archer returned in the 32nd over to end his struggling innings. Amla stepped on the crease after falling six wickets, but the tail was the batsman to accompany him.
Stokes ended the innings of Felukuyo (24) with a handy catch at midwicket. Liam Plunkett did not let the Amla (13) out of hopes of reducing the gap of South Africa’s loss was also completed.
Earlier, leg-spinner Imran Tahir became the first spinner to make the beginning of any World Cup. He took two for 66 runs. Apart from them, Luni Enigidi (3 for 66), Kagiso Rabada (two for 66 terms) and Andil Felukuyo (one by 44 terms) also took wickets. Tahir proved Fif du Plessis’s decision right after making dangerous Johnny Bairstow a ‘Golden Duck’ on his second ball. Tahir’s shot was caught by the edge of his bat in the gloves of the wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock.
In the absence of Dale Steyn, the captain of the South African attack, Rabada took the ball in the seventh over, Roy got him out of the box. Roy and Root took England to Triple Points in the 17th over. Roy immediately completed his 15th half-century in ODIs. This is the fifth opportunity in the last six innings while he has managed to score more than 50 runs. In the same over of the fast bowler Pretorius, Root also completed his 31st half-century, but after the next two overs, both of them were seated in the Pavilion.
Felukuyo forced Roy to give easy catch and broke this partnership looking dangerous. In the next over of Rabada, Route also rewarded his wicket by playing a shot at backward point. Roy scored eight boundaries and hit five boundaries. Stokes took some time to settle down, but Morgan hit two sixes in consecutive sixes in Lungi Enigid and also completed his 7000 runs in ODIs.
He then sent off-spinner Markram for six runs and after some time managed to complete his 46th half-century. Stokes also caught quick rhythm He made three fours in Pretoria’s one over, completing his 16th ODI half-century and returning to form at the right time. This is the first time in the World Cup when England’s four batsmen scored more than 50. Tauer caught on Morgan for long on He made four fours and three sixes. Energid did not let Jos Buttler (18) and Moin Ali (three) survive. The responsibility of death overs was on Stokes, but he also could not speed up the speed. Energid took his third wicket by catching him at backward point. Stokes put nine boundaries in his innings.